This summer I am teaching through the gospel of Luke. Jesus’ description of the Kingdom of God is so radical compared to my concept of Christianity as hobby. Jesus’ words are haunting:
“Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters — even one’s one life! — can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26-27).
Many people followed Jesus (Lk. 14:25), some for selfish reasons. He was a wise teacher and he healed diseases. The large crowds loved Jesus as entertainer. Today many persons self-identify with Christianity for ulterior reasons: social value, political expediency, personal guilt, family tradition, and more. The crowds are not always genuine disciples.
A genuine follower of Jesus — a disciple — participates in every aspect of the life of Christ. As Paul says:
“I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it” (Phil. 3:10-11).
Being a follower of Christ is more than paying God off with a few minutes of Bible reading and prayer. Discipleship is more than a little doctrinal acumen. Discipleship is nothing less than giving every part of my life to the full service of Jesus (Lk. 14:33).
Am I cut out to be a follower of Christ? Do I want to suffer for the glory of God? Do my financial, relational, and temporal priorities reflect a life in which I have renounced all personal ambitions for the sake of the Kingdom of God?
6 thoughts on “Radical Discipleship”
It is so hard to get an accurate perspective on suffering! I feel so often that it is my human nature and cultural persuasion to run from suffering, b/c who likes to be uncomfortable. Isn’t it much more fun to love Jesus and live a comfortable life as well? I am not begging for suffering, but do I have an accurate perspective when it comes? Am I passionate about the name of Jesus being magnified regardless of the cost? Ouch!
Gary, I am looking forward to the day when I can say that cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me–it has certainly grown my faith! There are days when I say “why me, Lord” and He says “why not you?”. The Lord has loudly spoken to me during my illness and he said when I was down and out “oh yea of little faith”! That got my attention and the best thing about my cancer is my closer walk with God. The most precious time of my day is the mornings when I read scripture and pray out loud! Oh what an awesome God we serve! God bless you and your ministry!
This is the kind of stuff that haunts me. Jesus talks of those who will be cast away and completely surprised by it. So many will think they have lived their lives in His name, but they haven’t. I am bothered by this weird culture of Christianity here in America, especially in the Bible belt. Like no other place, it’s completely fashionable to go to church. That has its benefits, to be sure — like the accessibility of the Gospel — but it often comes at the price of not knowing true discipleship. It’s too easy here to be lulled into complacency and it scares the living daylights out of me.
Agreed. And I vote that we stop calling it the “Bible Belt” and call it the “Religion Belt.”
This is great, Mark! Now that you are on staff at another church we miss you at FBC! God Bless you and your ministry!